I found several recipes on-line for how to make your own yogurt. When I found one for making yogurt in your crockpot--something I already had--I was thrilled! It's really easy and in the morning--surprise! You have Greek yogurt (after straining) for a fraction of the cost of a store-bought brand. As my girlfriend said when she made it, she expected to wake up and find herself wearing Berkenstocks. It's such an earthy, grounding experience to make your own yogurt.
You'll need a crockpot and a thermometer. Most recipes called for a candy thermometer, but I found that an instant read one works just fine. And you'll need some starter that has LIVE cultures in it. I bought a container of one of the popular brands of Greek yogurt, and it had six different live cultures in it. It's a little creepy to think about eating live anything, so I didn't dwell too much on that part! You'll need about half a cup. After you make your first batch, you can freeze (yes, freeze) a half a cup of it to start your next batch.
Pour 1/2 gallon of milk into your crockpot. I use 1/2% but you can use skim or whole or whatever you prefer. Turn your crockpot to low. Depending on the age of your crockpot (older=colder) it may take anywhere from 2.5 to 3 hours to reach 180 degrees. Check it with your trusty thermometer to be sure. When the milk reaches that temperature (you'll see bubbles around the edge), turn off the crockpot and take off the lid. You want the milk to cool to between 105 to 110 degrees. That will take an hour or more.
Once you've hit that temperature, whisk in your starter, cover it and wrap it all up in a giant beach towel. Leave it on the counter overnight, and in the morning you'll have yummy, delicious, additive-free yogurt!
|Milk heating in the crockpot|
|Sitting overnight wrapped in a towel|
|Straining the fresh yogurt to make Greek yogurt|
I read that you can make ricotta cheese with the whey, but it requires a LOT more than one batch of yogurt will produce so I haven't tried it. I also read that instead of throwing the whey down the drain, water your plants with it! It's good for them!
|First in my Gourmet De-Lite Series|
|Writing as Meg London|